All the world's peoples have their own origin stories. Today I'd like to introduce a fascinating tale that comes down to us from ancient Korea. It's from the Budoji
, a book written by Silla Era scholar Bak Jesang around AD 417 - 458.
Long, long ago, a community called Mago Castle was established by Mago, Mother Earth, in the highest and most sacred land on the planet. The people of Mago Castle lived in harmony with nature. This community operated autonomously, based on the sense for harmony in all people, not according to some higher authority or artificial rules. They had a deep sense of connection and oneness with other living things. Though all acted freely, each in his or her own way, they didn't harm others and had order and peace.
They lived on jiyu
("milk of the earth"), which is the vital energy of the Earth. Then one day someone ate grapes and developed the five senses and the ego. As gradually more of them consumed other living things, the people of Mago Castle became so blinded by their physical senses that they lost their ability to sense their absolute unity with other beings, their original harmony with nature, and their inner knowing that they have a source of infinite energy within. A battle and struggle began over resources that could never satisfy their inner desire for feeling oneness, and their self-control vanished with the belief that only limited resources from outside would quench this desire. Eventually, the harmony and order of Mago Castle shattered.
The tribal leaders knew that they could no longer remain there as they were, and chose to lead all the people away in an exodus to protect their precious Mago Castle. They vowed to recover their lost true nature and return one day to Mago Castle. This is the Vow of Returning (bokbon
I was deeply moved and impressed by this story. (You can read the full version here
.) The tale of Mago Castle is a beautiful and symbolic story illustrating self-discovery, honest introspection, and the brave journey of the human spirit. This shows us, deep down, what humanity actually seeks to become and where it seeks to return.
True enlightenment, I often say, is "realizing that I am a human." What makes us truly human is not money or vast knowledge or advanced technology. What makes us truly human is the sense of harmony and peace inside us, and when this sense awakens, the heart that empowers us to treat other people and life with understanding, respect, and love. This is the autonomy, the essence of the human spirit, and our true nature, which we find in the tale of Mago Castle.
We pursue values like health, happiness, freedom, peace, success, and stability. We cannot deny that these are all wonderful values. What, though, is the background that causes us to pursue such values in our lives? Clean air, clear water, bright sunshine, rich soil . . . Since the beginning of time, we have been accepting them as obvious and without doubt. They are now no longer obvious givens, however. What is the common root within such natural values? It is the Earth itself.
We know that the planet is now facing danger. We all know that the world needs to change. The global challenges we now face, including climate change, show us how distant we have grown from nature, internally and externally.
The key to change is not the system or knowledge or technology. The answer is inside us. The answer is recovering our true nature, which is harmonious and friendly, and which seeks the good of all. Returning to Mago Castle (bokbon) for us now, in these times, is recovering the harmony and peace of the Earth by recovering our true nature.
I have been creating and spreading methods of mind-body training for awakening the values and functions of the brain worldwide because I believe that the key to awakening to and realizing our true nature is found in the brain. Body & Brain Yoga
and Brain Education programs are being taught at over a thousand meditation centers around the globe, and educational institutions like the University of Brain Education
and the Global Cyber University
were born through my long exploration and studies for recovering our true nature.
The Benjamin School for Character Education
, on which I have been focusing passionately for the past couple years, is not a system of education for conveying knowledge, but an alternative school for high school students with the goal of manifesting the greatest qualities arising out of humanity's true nature. The book and movie, Change
, and my most recent book, The Solar Body
, are some of my projects for Returning—for awakening humanity's true nature, the mind within us that shines bright like the sun.
Mago Castle is inside us all. The Vow of Returning echoes within you. Although that echo is hard to hear in our busy lives, we remember that deep, ancient vow when we quiet our minds, control our breathing, and feel our selves. Then the sense of harmony, peace, and life inside us awakens. A heart that seeks to dedicate itself for the happiness and well-being of all people and all things, transcending its own interests, the mind of the Earth Citizen
As I watch the sun rising over the horizon in Kerikeri, NZ this morning, I can hear the echo of the Vow of Returning filling the atmosphere of the planet. I think of how I will create change and hope on the Earth through my life today.
If you, too, hear that echo, join me in becoming the beginning of change. I hope you'll take part in a movement that seeks to recover humanity's true nature and create a more harmonious, sustainable culture on the Earth.
Share with me and other fellow Earth citizens in the comments here about how the story of Mago Castle made you feel and how it resonated with you. Let's all inspire each other.
>Read the full version of The Story of Mago Castle